Seal & Expunge
Under Florida law, if you have been arrested for a criminal offense, you may have the right to have records of your arrest expunged or sealed.
Sealing is a court procedure that seals court and police records. The records are not destroyed or returned, but are put “under seal", meaning they are not accessible by employers, members of the general public, or most public entities. Law enforcement officials have access to the records. The procedure for obtaining a court order to seal records is virtually identical to the expungement procedure.
Expungement is a court procedure in which a person who has been arrested petitions the court in the county where the case was filed for the destruction or return of all records pertaining to his or her case. Typically, an order granting the expungement petition is directed to the arresting police agency, the Florida State Police Bureau of Identification, and the Circuit Court Clerk of the county in which the case was brought. Records expunged are either destroyed or returned to the petitioner. Records include fingerprints, mug shots, and other records of identification. The circuit clerk does not return or destroy the court file; rather, it impounds or seals the file so that the records will thereafter be unavailable to employers or the general public.
Please visit the FDLE website for additional information or contact the FDLE at (850) 410-7870.
Orders to Seal
Pursuant to Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, Rule 2.420, the Clerk of Court must post a copy of an order to seal issued on a Civil case on the Clerk's website and in a prominent, public location in the courthouse. This order must remain posted in both locations for no less than 30 days. The rule states that for Criminal cases, the Clerk shall not post orders for cases in this section unless directed by the Court.